"I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested. . . . I mean, it’s crazy."My Take
The press secretary dismissed the "professional left" in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, "They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality."
Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: "They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president."
Obama has faced unfair criticism from the left and the right. To the extent that he and his staff are angered by unfair critiques, they have the right to vent.
Gibbs' comments, however, suggest that liberals have no basis to criticize Obama whatsoever. That is a preposterous notion. Not only has he fallen short in some policy areas (anti-terrorism, gay rights, etc.), but it is also the role of progressive social movements to push political leaders beyond their comfort zone.
Change does not come from politicians alone. Instead, engaged social movements press political officials for change. Furthermore, dissent is an essential ingredient for change. Gibbs' comments do not acknowledge this fact.
Note: I have blogged on this subject previously. See, e.g., Criticizing President Obama Is Pragmatic
UPDATE: Other liberals have responded very passionately to Gibbs.
AMERICAblog News: Gibbs: People who are upset with Obama don't live in real America, didn't help get Obama elected
Robert Gibbs attacks the fringe losers of the Left - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com